A barely legible typewritten copy was found in Harold’s belongings
and transcribed by Elizabeth Sawyer Stout, wife of his nephew Byrl Stout.
Names mentioned in this document:
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1838 - -1900
The purpose of this Historical Sketch is to preserve for this and future generations the life as lived, at that time, of the Pioneers who settled the northeastern portion of The Town of Willing, namely, Hallsport and vicinity.
Had we been privileged to visit this region in the early 1820’s we would have seen the valleys clothed with Virgin Hemlock whose massive trunks measured four feet in diameter and tops waving seventy-five feet high with an occasional pine. On the hills were the hardwood, maple, and beech.
In 1824, Calvin Hall with others blazed a trail, where the state road now is up to the two valleys and continued up the left hand valley to the cemetery. There the trail turned to the right and went over Christian Hill. Here, on Lot No. 92, Calvin Hall settled in 1824. Here he built a log house and barn and opened a shoe shop for making new boots and shoes and repair work. He went on foot to Angelica, a distance of about thirty miles, where he made up a side of leather on shares, or on halves. When he made up a side he rolled up his side and having made himself a harness to fit his shoulders, he would walk back home to his shop in the wilderness. A side of leather weighed about seventy pounds. Once back home, he made boots and shoes by candle light having a candle stick holding three candles. For each pair of boots he got two and a half acres of virgin forest cut in wind rows. Later he would burn this tract over and this way he cleared up his one hundred and twenty-five acre farm.
Later, he was followed by his sister and her husband, Ebenezer Parker. They settled across the road on Lot 88, Town of Independence. A sister-in-law, Abbey Dexter, who married Nathan Babcock came next and settled on Lot. No. 91. Soon another sister, Thankful Hall, an old maid, and like Calvin a school teacher, came and settled on Lot No. 90. She had a house built of pine plank and it is still used as a dwelling. Here she opened a dressmaking and millinery shop.
By this time more settlers had arrived and Calvin Hall was appointed Post Master. The mail came once a week from Angelica by horseback. Mr. John Cline, Sr., told me, “You see, Dan, we preferred to have our friends think of us often but write seldom for the postage on a letter was two SHILLINGS and the one receiving the letter had to pay the postage and we did not have many SHILLINGS and they were very hard to get here at that time.”
By 1838 much of the timber was cleared and the wind blew from any direction there on top of Christian Hill, so Calvin and his sister Thankful sold their farms and migrated to the valley below. Calvin had ten good cows and she had a good trade but neither liked the location on account of the wind. So they both sold out and Calvin bought the north half of Lot 206 and she the south half. On this Lot 206 is where most of the village of Hallsport is situated.
On this Lot 206 he built a large log house and opened a hotel and shoe shop. It was not long before he employed from three to five shoemakers the year around. The settlers came in quite large numbers. Card and Crittenden started a General Store, then on the adjoining lot they opened a brick yard - the brick to take the place of field stone for chimneys. They also ran an Ashery where hard wood ashes brought a shilling a bushel. The lye was run off in large leaches, boiled down thick in outdoor kettles and then baked in ovens, stirred frequently with long rods until finally they were pearls. Then they were barreled and drawn to Dansville where they were shipped by canal boat to be made in Saleratus or Baking Soda. The teamster took a load of pearl and brought back a load of goods for the store. It took four days to make the trip.
Thomas Perkins built and operated a sawmill on the northeast part of 206 just above the cheese factory. The old mill race can still be seen where it brought the water from the creek to an over shot water wheel to be used as power for an old fashioned up and down saw. This mill sawed many feet of lumber for new homes in this part of the Town of Willing. Later it was operated by Warren Rice and was in use for over fifty years.
About this time Frank Thomas built and ran a blacksmith shop where he shod horses and oxen besides building new wagons and doing repair work.
Nathan Woodcock built a dam just above the school house and used the water to power a turning lathe. Here he turned out butter bowls and hubs for spinning wheels and reels then with a good load of their wares and a stock of bowls, they each had a horse and Calvin a wagon with an extra long wagon box, so they would go on a week trip disposing of their wares. A spinning wheel brought twenty shillings and a reel ten shillings, a medium sized bowl two shillings and larger ones more. A small bowl brought a six pence.
At this time Calvin Hall build a new frame hotel. It was 40 by 50 feet and had a ballroom the entire length. This was in war times, about 1861. In 1867 Mary Crabtree taught school here and she later told me often someone would come to the school house and rap and ask if she would please give out word to the children that a party would be held at the hotel that night and the ballroom would be filled when it came time to dance. Billy Young from Angelica, Earl Hood and Family, Colegrove from Wellsville (later he led an orchestra in Pittsburgh), and Clint Richardson were the principal ones to furnish the music to dance by. Hallsport was noted for miles around for the nice parties held at the hotel. It was noted especially for the excellent food, splendid music, and the dance floor was the best to be found at that time. It was built by a professional dance floor builder and many old timers have told me, “It was the easiest floor I ever danced on and had the best time to parties held there of any place I ever went.”
On April 1, 1868, Ett Willie drove a four horse team off Beach Hill with a sleigh load of young people, over forty in number, to an April Fool Sugar Party with the snow two feet deep. They brought along Varn Phillips with his dulcimer and Harm Coats with his violin. They furnished the music to dance after. One of the citizens of that time told me some had drawn in their buckets and declared sugaring was over but this man said he was never more busy for two weeks than that year and made more sugar than in all the time before this snow storm. It thawed days and froze up nights and how the sap did run!
In 1869, marks the starting of making cheese here. The enterprise was started by Squire L. Hall and his brother Harrison Hall. Harrison went to Belvidere and moved a Mr. Fox and his family to Hallsport and began the manufacture of full cream cheese. The brand at that time was No. 554, the number of cheese factories in the state then allowed to brand their cheese Full Cream.
In 1889 was the year the new schoolhouse was built by Edwin Perkins. He received eight hundred dollars and furnished all the material, did all the work, and guaranteed the building to be done in workman-like manner and pass inspection, which it did. He also operated the first band saw ever run in the Town of Willing. He also had a planing mill, shingle machine, grist mill, and made cider for the farmers in the fall.
On the way home from hunting, I met Edwin Perkins in his orchard and as he looked my game over he said, “Dan, that nice partridge makes me think of a story my brother Freem [Freeman H. Perkins] told bout he and your father going partridge hunting. You never knew Freem as he went west long before you were born and finally lived in Alaska. Well, he and your father were boys together; hunted, fished, and went to school and were great friends. Freem came home one day in an awful hurry for his dinner. He and Harrison were going hunting as Harrison had just traded a very nice watch for two shot guns and they were going to try these two guns out. Here is how Freem told the story: We went over on the side hill along the creek where the bank was very steep. Freem saw a bird land in a hemlock tree and your father, being closer, fired. When the gun went your father went too - about a rod down the bank. The bird came down with one wing broken so the boys gave chase and caught the partridge. Then Harrison told Freem if that bird had had my end of the gun she never would have made a flutter. It would have killed her dead as a stone. Well, they went on until Freem had shot two or three times and then Harrison said “how do you like that gun?” I think it is a very good gun and wish I had as good a gun of my own. Then Harrison told Freem, I am giving you that gun as it will be a lot more fun if we both have a gun to go hunting with. This one I have looks good or did to me and so I will shine it up and when the right one comes along what a bargain they will get.”
I remember being in the hotel with Freem and your father and he had a cigar box full of watches and I bet, as I remember, at least twenty guns in a rack. You see, he had a very good chance to trade there in the hotel with so many people coming and going and he sure liked it.
Jobe Smith, a doctor, dentist, and an inventor, married Saraphany Hall
[Seraphina Hall] who taught school in a log schoolhouse near the
Jack Bridge about Stannards. He settled in Hallsport where he had
his office in his home and built a stone still where he distilled many
kinds of oils and essences. He had a label on each bottle “Smith’s
Botanical Works, Hallsport, N.Y.” He wrote a letter to Queen Victoria
of England and sent her samples of his oils and essences. She replied
in a very nice letter and enclosed for two hundred dollars worth of his
goods. He was a very good dentist as Flora Babcock showed me her teeth
he made her and they had been in use for thirty-eight years and fit as
good as when made and no repairs had been needed at that time. He
also invented an artificial foot, hand, and ankle with a joint. I
saw a railroad man who knew my father one day as he jumped off a train.
He stopped and came and talked with Dad and showed him an artificial ankle
Jobe made thirty or more years before and he had used it ever since.
Jobe’s brother, whose real name was Amacy Marks came here for a visit when
I was a very small boy and as I remember him he was a large man weighting
over two hundred pounds. he agreed to give Jobe one half of the proceeds
of all sales which he never did. He was a good business man for he
got the patent in his own name and at the close of of the Civil War got
a government contract to furnish all soldiers with artificial limbs.
When Amacy died he was a millionaire and his two sons, Marks Brothers,
still were in business on Broadway in New York City marketing their wares.
Some of the people from here came back and said they visited their place
of business and at their homes and were very wealthy.
NAMING THE FRAME
One day, when I was a small boy, John Woodcock was driving that old gray mare he used to have for many years up to his farm and asked me to hitch my sled to his cutter and get in and ride with him. It will be a lot easier than walking. As we passed the Frank Babcock place he was repairing his barn and John remarked, “I helped frame and raise that barn years ago.” You see, Uncle Jabe Card [Jabez Card] ran the store, brick yard, and ashery and was well liked. His old maid sister, like all old maids, nothing was quite as it should be and she was very hard to get along with. We talked the matter of having a bee and framing and raising Uncle Jabe’s barn. He was agreeable and said he would furnish a good dinner and supper and the trimmings. We all knew what he meant by trimmings. So when the day arrived we all were there and we framed the barn. In the afternoon we finished the framing and raised it. Just as we raised the last pair of rafters, supper was announced but a shout went up, “We haven’t named the frame yet.” So Deacon Rise, who was very apt such things was called on to name the frame. With one foot each side of the peak he took in jug in one hand and his hat in the other and said, “Gentlemen, this is a good frame and deserves a good name. Now what shall we call it?”
Aunt Ellen’s Contention
Uncle Abe’s Delight
Framed In The Morning
And Raised Before Night
Then he swung the jug up on his shoulder and took a good lusty pull then handed it down to the next and so it went around the whole crowd. Then we went in to supper and what a meal it was. Never ate one like it before or since and do not expect to ever again. Aunt Ellen was hard to get along with, but how she could cook! Boy, what a supper, I will never forget how good it tasted.
Well, we are at the top of the hill and I have enjoyed talking over those
good old days and having you along. Now, I will watch you go riding
down the hill as I used to once myself years ago. So, goodbye, and
don’t get a spill. He threw up his hand and I jumped on my sled thanking
him for his kindness but more for the nice story he had just told.
FISHING IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS
While attending High School at Wellsville, I boarded at Mr. John Wheeler’s.
One day when fresh fish was served he made the remark, “This makes me think
of when I was a boy and lived with Uncle Calvin Hall in the hotel at Hallsport.
Many times on a rainy afternoon have I seen Mr. Woodcock come down off
the hill, come into the hotel, buy a half pint of liquor, go out to the
bridge, cut a pole, string up his tackle, and go down the creek fishing.
About four o’clock he would come up the road with two big strings of speckled
trout, about all he could carry, and come into the hotel and remarked ‘Calvin,
I have more fish than I wish to lug up that hill home, so I am giving you
one string.’ Uncle would thank him and either take the fish in the
kitchen or as me and then he would draw Mr. Woodcock a pint of whiskey
and give it to him. ‘Thanks, thanks a lot, Calvin. How much easier
I can climb the hill with this one string and that pint than with the two
strings.” Then he would say good afternoon and away he would go for
HUNTING DEER WITH A FLINTLOCK RIFLE
Late in November, just before Thanksgiving, we had our first snowfall,
about four inches in depth. I went into the store and Mr. John Cline,
Sr., was there and I made the remark to him what a nice day to go hunting
with this excellent tracking show. Yes, Dan, this reminds me of the
year my wife and I were married. It started snowing at dark and by
bedtime it had reached a depth of two inches and was still falling.
Next morning I was up before daylight, had my work done, breakfast eaten
and went up along the creek looking for a deer. As I went along the
creek, hemlock trees four feet or more were very plentiful, not a blow
struck along there. It was a splendid place to start a deer.
it was rather dusk yet and I went along slowly and carefully so not to
make a noise. About half way I stepped on a dry limb and it sounded
to me as though I had shot off my gun. Up jumped a big buck!
With a snort he threw up his flag and the trees were so large and thick,
the light so poor, I could not get a shot. I followed along and just
about where the two roads meet, although there was no Whitesville Road
then, there was a little clearing and an old log house long since gone.
Here old man Woodcock and his wife lived. As I came near the clearing,
I saw the buck eating the top of a low bush. I worked my way to the
west as the wind was blowing from the east, a sure sign it would snow more,
until I had a broadside shot. I guess I must have been in a hurry
for I bumped into a small tree and down came the snow. It landed
all over me and on top of my gun. I brushed off all the snow I could
and blew off the rest from gun,then I took good aim and fired but all I
got was a click at which the buck raised his head and looked. I tried
again, another click, and away bounded the buck. I tried several
times but no use. The powder in the pan was too damp to go, so I
started across the clearing wondering if Mr. Woodcock would be up at that
early hour. As I neared the house, I heard voices and the closer
I came the noise grew much in volume. I rapped on the door but got
no response. Then I rapped good and hard, but to no avail.
There was too much noise within. I turned my gun and pounded on the
door with the butt of my gun. Mr. Woodcock came to the door and said,
‘Good morning, Cline, won’t you come in?’ I replied ‘I wanted to
get a live coal but what was the matter I could not make you hear when
I rapped?’ ‘Oh, Cline, Hell was to pay and no pitch hot.’ I
took the tongs and fished out a good sized coal, went out and aimed my
gun at a large tree and touched her off.” I asked him why he aimed
at a tree. Were you afraid of shooting someone - and he laughed and
answered, ‘No. You see, Dan, we had to go to Dansville to get our
supplies and it took four days to make the trip. Then, too, we did
not have much money and so we did not want to waste anything. I took
my knife and dug the ball out as it just went through the bark and flattened
out on the wood. You see, I could melt and run this lead again and
have a new bullet. I reloaded my gun and went on up the creek about
a half mile where I saw a bunch of vie deer, the large buck was one of
them. I took off my cap and held it over my gun so not to have another
accident and went from tree to tree keeping out of sight until I was within
about forty rods of them. Then I sighted my gun along the side of
a large hemlock and fired. Away went the whole herd but I noticed
as they went up the hill the buck was in the rear. When I picked
up their trail the buck was leaving plenty of blood and his right foreleg
was making a mark much like dragging a stick through the snow. I
took plenty of time to reload and went slowly around the hill to the west
so as to be on the windward side. Then I went up to the top of the
hill near the clump of pine trees and sure enough there they were just
as I had expected. The buck was lying down, the others standing.
I took off my cap, covered my gun and went from tree to tree keeping out
of sight until I was about thirty rods distant. Then I took careful
aim and that time I finished him off. I hung up my buck, dressed
him and went down Smith Dexter’s, borrowed his yoke of oxen and sled.
I soon had my buck home and, as I recall it, now at the age of ninety,
it was the day before Thanksgiving and my wife and I had a tolerable Thanksgiving
Dinner in our new home.”
A TURKEY SHOOT
When Mr. Cline finished, O.T. Perkins spoke up and said, “I think what Dan wants to know is how far those flintlock rifles would and kill. So I am going to tell my story. When I was about eight years old, my mother sent me down to Uncle Calvin’s with a pair of boots to be repaired. He had his work bench in one corner of the barroom and while he was at work on the boots a Mr. Graves from Shongo came in and wanted to know what Uncle thought about having a turkey shoot and would it be a success. Uncle replied that it depended on circumstances. First, how many turkeys to you want to dispose of? Second, how far do you think they should shoot? Third, how much do you think you should charge a shot? And when do you think you want to hold the event? They talked awhile and the Uncle went over to his desk, took out a large sheet of paper and, as I remember, it was about two feet long and about the same in width. In the upper left hand corner he drew with his pen a nice picture of a turkey, then took another pen and red ink and colored it until it looked like a real live turkey. Then he took his rule and drew a straight line about half way and printed in large black letters - SHOOT. Then in large letters: NUMBER OF TURKEYS - FORTY. DISTANCE - SIXTY RODS, OFF HAND. PRICE - ONE SHILLING A SHOT. TIME - NOVEMBER 20 AT HOTEL IN HALLSPORT. He fastened the notice up in the barroom where all could see it and Graves went out well pleased with the proposition
When the eventful day arrived, I was there. They staked a plank across the road in front of the hotel and measured up toward the cemetery sixty rods, drew in a large maple butt over three feet across right at the corner of the cemetery at the sixty rod mark. On the butt of the log they fastened a life-size picture of a turkey and the shooting began. Two men were stationed behind a hemlock tree and after each shot would look the target over and call a Hit - but more often a Miss. This went on until just before dinner time and only three turkeys had been won. Then Dan’s father, a boy of about fourteen at the time, came out of the hotel, gun in hand, paid his shilling and toed the plank and I heard someone say “the very idea, a boy trying to hit that mark when most of the men can't!” Then Harrison raised his gun and fired. Someone else remarked he might have stood a chance if he had aimed before he shot. Out came the men from behind the tree and looked then took off their hats and called a HIT. Many ran up to see and sure enough, right through the center of the bird - a sure enough center HIT. What a shout went up from the crowd and Graves with a grin reached in and selected a great big gobbler, one of the nicest in the wagon box, and handed it to Harrison. With gun in one hand and the turkey in the other, he walked up to the porch well filled with onlookers and remarked, “Mother, I think we will have a Turkey on Thanksgiving, don’t you?” Aunt Charlotte replied, “We certainly will and I am proud of your marksmanship.” Then he went across the road to the hotel barn to dispose of his turkey. Many shots kicked up the dirt before they reached the target. Some that did hit the log would flatten out and drop down and those that did stick were not out of sight but the ball from Harrison’s gun went in clear out of sight. that was the first gun I ever saw that used a cap and it was a long time before we had them here. As I remember it was a foreign gun made in Germany and nothing like it here. After dinner, Cran Trask, one of the most skillful hunters, came in and said, “Harrison, I have spent six shillings and have not got a turkey yet so I want to borrow your gun.” He went out and the second time he shot, won his turkey. Then Graves took the gun and looked it over and remarked from now on no more shots will be allowed with that gun. “No, sir, you will have to use your own gun.” At about four o’clock the last turkey was won and Graves went home with an empty wagon box but with plenty of shillings and very well pleased and everyone had had a pleasant time. No fussing or disputes as the shoot drew to a close.
O.T. remarked that my brother, Freem, and Harrison were pals, went to school, hunted, fished, and played together. Even after were grown up and working in the Wisconsin Mill that Freem ran for a long time, he would say, “How I wish Harrison hall was here, what a good time we used to have and O.T. I still have that shot gun he gave me and I often handle it, look it over. It sort of brings back old times of happy days I spent in Hallsport and I remember how good a shot Harrison was. He could aim, shoot, and have the bird on the ground before I got ready to shoot. He sure could shoot the quickest and most always hit the mark.”
Then Mr. Cline replied, “I, too, remember that turkey shoot for I spent four shillings before I got my turkey. You see, I kept raising the sights on my rifle until I finally hit the mark. I remember that gun of Harrison’s, too, for I was in the hotel one morning and Harrison was behind the desk checking out the guests when a young fellow by the name of Curtis who drove a very nice pair of black horses and had a nice brass trimmed harness and a much longer and larger wagon painted yellow with black letters. C. W. CURTIS DRY GOODS AND NOTIONS on a very flashy rig. He came through quite often for in those days each agent carried their goods along with them and delivered as they sold. this morning, he brought in this gun and told Harrison< “As I am making my last trip through here and going back to the city to run one of my uncle’s stores, I won’t have a chance to use this gun so as you always liked it very much, I am giving it to you to remember our many nice and happy hunting days we have spent together.” Harrison took the gun and hung it up behind the desk and unfastened his watch chain and took out his beautiful gold watch and handed it to him saying, “Here, Jim, is the watch and chain you always admired so much. I am giving these to you so we will both have something to remember our happy days we have spent together. Thanks, Jim, a lot for the gun and hope we meet again in the not too distant future.” You could see they were both deeply moved at the parting. Then Curtis started for the door and stopped and said, “Thanks, Harrison, a million times. So long and best of luck.” Harrison remarked, “Same to you, Jim, and lots of good luck, too.”
When Mr. George W. Cate was visiting at our home, he told me about his mother, his brother Enoch and he coming to the wilderness, as he called, in 1842. “you see, Dan, my mother was a widow and she and Uncle Calvin always kept in touch with each other after he left Vermont, by letters. One day Mother called Enoch and I in to read us Uncle’s letter she had just received. He told her about the new country and what a chance she would have to buy a lot and have a home. I remember how Enoch wanted to know how thick the Indians were and after Mother told him there were no Indians here, he was ready and anxious to go. Mother began disposing of some things and began packing our trunks. Then she wrote Uncle when we would start and about what time we would arrive in Dansville. We went part of the way by stage coach and the rest by canal boat. We made better time than we thought, as we expected it would take a week. She wrote Uncle about what time we expected to arrive. You see, Mother, like Uncle and Aunt Thankful, was a school teacher and when she quit teaching she had become a very good tailoress and well experienced in making men’s suits, overcoats, and women’s cloaks. So Uncle had a large room all fitted up and ready with a large sign over the door - SUITS, OVERCOATS AND LADIES’ CLOAKS MADE TO ORDER. Uncle met us two days after we arrived at Dansville with a pair of horses and a wagon. You see we had made better time than we expected. He and Mother bought several bolts of cloth for men’s suits and overcoats. We started at daylight next morning and at noon we camped beside the road as most of the way it was woods and fed our horses, ate our lunch and Uncle said we would have to let the horses rest for a time. About two o’clock Uncle said, “Well, I think the horses are rested now,” and we started on our way. It was in the month of June and a very warm pleasant day. As we came farther this way the trees were larger and thicker. We boys were wondering how much farther it would be to Hallsport. Just before sundown we stopped again and had our camp beside the road, fed the horses, and ate our supper. After a brief rest we started on and arrived at the hotel in Hallsport at three a.m. Aunt Charlotte had a delicious meal all hot and waiting for us. She called it a lunch but Enoch said it was breakfast and I told him it was supper. She certainly did know how to cook and serve food. I never up to that time ate such good meal and Enoch said, “Auntie, I sure did enjoy your early breakfast.” How she laughed! Even Uncle and Mother seemed to like the food very much. We liked Aunt Charlotte from the very first. She was short, could stand under Uncle’s arm, but quite plump, a very pleasant person to meet with a smile on her face often and could crack a joke. An ideal landlady and knew how to meet strangers and make them feel at home. But that meal was so good I will never forget how good it tasted.
A few days later Uncle asked Mother if she had rested so she could do a little job for him. I think it is time we did a little advertising and so he brought in a bolt of cloth and Mother took his measure for a suit of clothes. When the suit was done, he tried it on did he look nice in his new store clothes. The next Sunday we all went to church in the schoolhouse and I never will forget how nice Uncle looked. Several complimented him and asked where did he get a suit of store clothes like that. He told them we have a tailor shop right here in Hallsport and that is where these came from. It was not long before Mother had plenty of work to do and later had two ladies to help. She sure could make as nice a suit as one could buy anywhere.
It was not long before haying time arrived and Uncle rigged up a scythe and snatch for each of us boys and taught us how to mow around the stumps and not leave any grass. Nothing was wasted. It all had to be saved for we did not have too much hay for our cattle. Then we had to stir out the swath several times as the hay grew very rank and took a lot of drying. Then we bunched it in large bunches and we learned to turn our forkfuls over so the bunch would shed rain. Near the barn Uncle brought two hay poles just as smooth as glass and we slipped these under a bunch and we boys each took a pole and Uncle the other two poles and we carried the hay in and dumped it into the hay mow over the breast girt. this was much faster than drawing it in on a wooden sod sled with the oxen.
As I remember it now, the hay grew very rank and much clover so we had to spend quite a bit of time shaking it out and turning it over before it was dry enough to draw in. When we bunched it many times we had to carry it quite a distance so we could get between the stumps and the bunch with the oxen. However, I helped Enoch make load and drove the oxen. He never took to farm life very much and learned the blacksmith trade. He went out near Dundee, run a shop, and got married. I stayed with Mother at the hotel until we had enough to buy us a nice farm and she lived with us and had a good home. When we drew the hay in, Uncle taught us how to mow it away and to fill the corners and pack it down and keep the hay level. At different times he would sprinkle salt on and and as he said keep the hay from mow burning and make it better for the cattle to eat with the salt sprinkled on. Sometimes Uncle would pitch on, Enoch make load, and I rake after with a hand rake every bit was saved nothing wasted. That field south of the cemetery was all wheat, Uncle said, allowing for the stumps there about four acres although it was a six acre field.
Uncle cradled and Enoch and I raked and bound each bundle. Where there
were a few stalks left around the stumps I took a sickle and cut each stalk
and put each handful with the rest. Nothing was left all taken care of
as uncle would say, “Boys, there is enough right there to make a nice piece
of bread and it will taste good in your dinner pail when you go to school
this winter. Every sixth bundle had to be bound near the butt end then
when we set the grin up in shocks of five, round the cap bundle was broke
down around and placed upside down. This protected the heads so when the
grain was drawn in the wheat was just as bright as when cut. It took a
lot of time but it paid to save the grain, either that or go hungry so
we did as Uncle said. We worked hard to get all the wheat in so we could
thrash when it came bad weather. We would climb up and throw down a flooring
then help unbind the bundles and spread them out over the barn floor. Next
we started thrashing with a flail, two pieces of wood tied together with
a strong buckskin string. We held the longer piece in our hands and the
shorter one and much heavier we did the pounding with. We pounded out and
back several times then turned the bundles over and did it over again.
We did this until every bit of wheat had been knocked off then we raked
off the straw and pitched it over in the bay for bedding. This went on
for three days then we had all the wheat thrashed and had to clean up the
floor. Uncle had a very good fanning mill, almost a new one, and we all
took turns at turning it while the others bagged up the wheat and shoveled
up the chaff and wheat. When we finally finished, we had, allowing two
bushels to the bag, one hundred and eleven bushels of wheat. As Uncle said,
“Not a bad yield if you allowed for the stumps.” Then we had to put in
the wheat for next year. Uncle had a yoke of oxen and a collar to
fit each ox, and hitched the ox by means of hame and chain traces to an
A-drag with the teeth driven through the frame, slanting a little back
so not to catch the roots. Each of us boys had an ox and what a lot of
fun we had dragging around those old stumps. Finally when we got a good
seed bed Uncle sowed the wheat and we dragged it several times over and
then as Uncle told us, “Now we will smooth it off and then if the wheat
lodges we will have a smooth surface to cut it on so not to leave any to
go to waste.” I tell you, we boys were very proud of what a nice job we
had done and Uncle praised our work and told us, “Boys, remember you can’t
cheat a crop. Whatever you do, remember all your life: Do it well, and
you will always be pleased to look your work over. So we hitched
our ox to three planks spiked so to lap on each other and went over the
field making it as smooth as it could be going around those stumps. Then
Uncle told us we had done nicely and he was sure we would get a good crop
next year. The plank had to be about six feet long to get between the stumps
and sometimes then we had to lift one end up to get by, but we did not
mind that as we had a lot of fun smoothing the land off.
GETTING READY TO GO TO MILL
The next morning we cut several trees and Uncle and John Cline, Sr., made a long and quite wide sled. They took the roll and tongue up to the blacksmith shop and Frank Thomas put on the irons and braces. He also made eight long bolts and they put a wide and thick hardwood plank on in front and one at the back of the sled. Then they spiked heavy plank in between until we had a very substantial sled, one that would carry a big load and no worry about its coming apart over the rough trail. They bored holes through the runners and the same in the wooden shoes so when the shoes wore out they turned the sled over and drove the pins out, took off the worn runners or shoes and replaced them with new ones just cut, bored holes in them and drove new pins in. This way we had a new set of shoes each time. We did this every day and it took six days to make the trip so we shod the sled six times. Each time we had to unload the sled and turn it over to drive out the pins and fit new shoes then drive in new pins.
My mother made me a new pair of doe linen trousers and a blue coat trimmed in red braid with brass buttons. Aunt Thankful brought me a bright red cap and told me, “George, this will keep the Indians from scalping you.” My hat had a nice blue band and Uncle called me in his room and handed me a new pair of leather boots with red tops and told me to try those on and did they fit? Well, I will say they did and I don’t believe I ever in all my life felt so happy as then. Then, too, Uncle told me, “George, you are head teamster and will drive my oxen, first pair next to the sled.” We had two other pairs as we had a big load of wheat and corn enough for seven families. I looked around and there was Aunt Charlotte and she told me I looked as nice as a general on dress parade and might be president some day. Just before we started, Mother came out and gave me a hug and a great big kiss and said, “Now, George, you be a good boy and do as Uncle tells you and you will come home happy.”
We were all ready to start and the sled was piled high with the seven different grists. We had a large canvas waterproof to cover the entire sled and plenty of blankets and provisions to last until we reached Knoxville distant some thirty miles. There were three teamsters and four others. Uncle, John Cline, Sr., a man by the name of Rhindholdt, and one named Nelt Sherwood. With the three teamsters it made a company of seven. They all had a grist and three went ahead and shot some game or if they were near a stream we had speckled trout for supper. Sometimes we had fresh meat and when we reached the camping place they sharpened sticks, long ones, and held our meat over the fire then turned it, put on pepper and salt and put it between two large slices of salt rising bread and did it taste good! We had plenty of good wholesome food. Of course, we did not have pie or cake but we did have some very nice cookies and ginger cake.
At night we had a nice campfire and fresh pine or hemlock boughs to sleep on covered with a blanket and I never slept on a softer or more comfortable bed in all my life. We were in bed at nine o’clock and up at daylight but we did have a good time each night sitting around the campfire, the men smoking and telling ghost stories until I sometimes looked around to see if the ghost was after me. Everything went along nicely until the third night. That day Rhindholdt walked along beside me for a distance and remarked, “George, better keep a sharp lookout as we crossed the line aways back and are now in Pennsylvania and anything can happen like panthers, wolves, and bears.” It did not scare me much for I knew Uncle would be there and I would not be afraid then. We came to a long piece of thick woods and after awhile it began to get a little dusk, then we rounded a bend and there was the campfire so we drove to one side of the road and camped for the night.
We had speckled trout and what a nice big panful and Uncle put plenty of butter in the pan and then the trout. He raked out a nice bed of live coals, put on pepper and salt and when they were done, I tell you, we had as nice a supper as one could wish. We had plenty of bread and butter although the butter was a little soft. We did not mind that. He also had a kettle nearly full of potatoes and so we sure did enjoy eating that meal.
They had cut plenty of wood and had the green boughs cut for our beds and someone remarked it would be a good idea to have some extra boughs handy in case we needed a light. So three of the men cut a pile as large as a good big bunch of hay and the others carried them out near the fire and piled them up.
We sat round the campfire telling stories and smoking until about nine o’clock and then we went to bed all but the one on watch. Just before midnight, I woke up and Rhindholdt was dressing and told me I better get up and dress. I was not long getting on my clothes for of all the screaming and the most ear splitting yells I have ever heard in all my life were tearing holes in the air. Uncle came on the run and asked me to go stay with the oxen as they were bellowing and seemed almost sure to get loose. I went and they were trembling and shaking like they were nearly scared to death. Of the two, I don’t know to this day which of us, the oxen or I was shaking most. Uncle three a big armful of pine boughs on the fire and soon it made things as light as day for quite a distance around. Then I could see what it was making all the noise. In a large tree not too far off, I saw an animal and how he did scream - make the bark fly off the limb and his tail was lashing back and forth, a terrible sight to behold. Rindholdt yelled, “Throw on another armful of boughs.” which Uncle did. By that time everyone was up and the four men with their guns were in line watching the animal. Rhindholdt said, “Now get read, aim, fire” and down came the animal with a loud thump on the ground. He raised up on his front feet and of all the screams one ever heard he let loose. I counted three distinct shots but someone must have held his fire. The animal could could not use his hind parts so there he was siting up on his front legs and letting out those unearthly yells. Rhindholdt walked up much closer than I would have dared, raised his gun, and fired. Over went the animal as dead as a stone. Rhindholdt took a long stick and punched and punched the animal then reached down carefully and, gun in hand, pulled the carcass up to the campfire where all could get a good look. Of course, boy fashion, I was in the front rank for I had no idea what it was. I asked Rhindholdt what it was and he said, “Well, George, that is a very good specimen of a full grown panther and one well along in years. I would say a granddaddy to several more in these parts. Notice he has ears like a cat’s, whiskers, too, and look at those claws,” and he pulled the skin back and they were sharp as needles and hooked so he sure could rip and tear anything he cared to. I told him I sure would hate to meet that panther alone anyplace night or day. Then I asked Rhindholdt how he could make such an awful noise and he laughed and said, “same as you can yell only he has a much more screech than we have, see?” I noticed, too, that he had a much longer body than a dog and his legs were longer, too. The men all agreed he would weight better than a hundred pounds. After everyone was through examining and looking the men took the body down away from camp and piled brush and stone on top. Rhindholdt told the men, “I think we better double the watch for those birds usually go in pairs and we might get a visit from his mate.” So Rhindholdt volunteered to act as one and the guard was set.
I went to bed but not to sleep. Every time I closed my eyes, I could see that panther on that limb and almost hear him scream. After a long time I fell asleep and when I woke up I sure did not know what to make of where I was or what had happened. I sat up, rubbed my eyes and looked around there I was riding on the sled top of the grain covered with a blanket. Uncle came along the side and reached in, pulled out a nicely wrapped package and asked me how felt, then handed me the package and told me, “George, here is a lunch that will help you out until dinner. You see, we thought you did not get as much sleep as usual so we put you on the load and let you have your nap out.”
I asked Uncle if I could drive the oxen when I finished eating my lunch and he said, Of course, George, you still are head teamster and Rhindholdt took your place for a time.” Then I finished my lunch in a hurry and how good I felt to be back driving my team.
We were going through a different country, more cleared land and along
a quite good sized river. Soon we came to a few houses and a large stone
mill. Here we drove up and Uncle and some of the others went in and made
arrangements to have the grists ground. Then we unloaded and put the oxen
in the mill shed, fed them some hay and grain. While the grist was being
ground some of the men went over to a store and brought back something
for dinner and I well remember Uncle brought me a large sack of peanuts
and several sticks of peppermint candy with red streaks, how good it did
taste. About three o’clock we were all loaded and ready to start for home.
When we had gone a mile or so those oxen seemed to know they were on their
way home and you ought to see how they walked. I tell you, I had to step
to keep alongside and drive my team. That night we camped away this side
of where we did the night before and I was glad to be out of that long
piece of woods where we killed the panther. Next morning we were up early
and on our way by daylight. Everything went as usual and we had a lot of
fun talking and a very good meal each time. About four o’clock we came
into Hallsport and what a welcome we got! Mother hugged me up and kissed
me, then wanted to know if I had a good time and enough to eat. Aunt Charlotte
wanted to know if I saw any Indians and I told her not but I “most got
eat up by a panther.” How they all laughed! The grists were unloaded and
everyone had a year’s supply of flour and meal for pudding and Johnny cake.
Uncle told them, “I think we all to go to church tomorrow and thank
the Lord for our safe journey and such an abundant blessing in good crops
here in the wilderness. I, for one, am going to be there and I hope
to see you all.” So Sunday morning we all went to church in the school
house and it was filled. The preacher chose for his text, “The Lord has
blessed us exceeding well.” I remember what a lot of visiting went on about
our trip to the mill.
WE GET MARRIED, GO ON OUR WEDDING TRIP, MOVE, AND SETTLE THE SAME DAY
(This story was told me by Mr. John Cline, Sr., when he was past ninety)
We had our wedding at her home about ten o’clock in the morning. After dinner I went over to Smith Dexter’s and borrowed his oxen and wooden-shod sled, it was in the month of June. The I drove over to my folks, loaded on a cord bedstead, two straight backed chairs, two rocking chairs with splint bottoms, a chest of draws, my carpenter square, spirit level, and nail hammer. I made all the furniture myself. Mother gave me some bedding, a few dishes, and three new quilts. I folded them and put them on the chest of draws to sit on. Then I drove over to my wife’s folks and loaded on a box of dishes and some pans, kettles, and some other baking dishes. Then I helped her to get seated and we drove to Hallsport by way of Christian Hill about three miles. This was our wedding trip. When we came to the hotel there were several out on the porch and your grandmother and grandfather came out to the road and I stopped the oxen and he doffed his hat and remarked, “Congratulations, best wishes for a successful, happy and long journey on the sea of matrimony and here, John, is your wedding present.” It was a package neatly tied and about three feet long and two wide. Then your grandmother, with a smile and a twinkle in her eyes, said, “I, too, wish you both a very successful, happy, prosperous, and long married life and here, Mrs. Cline, is my present and I think you will find it very useful in more ways than one. In fact, it will prove very useful to keep John in place, see?” She was always full of fun and cracking jokes. A very likable and jolly person and well liked by everyone. What a cheery laugh she had a real pleasant smile. An ideal couple for a hotel.
My wife could hardly wait until we went the few rods to the corner where our new home was waiting for us. When we arrived we unloaded and moved our things, but first she had to unwrap her present. It was a very nice rolling pin made of white ash as smooth as glass. Next I undid my present and it was a mixing board made of white maple almost as white as the driven snow and smooth as one could wish. My wife took her rolling pin by one handle and said, “Might as well start keeping you in place now” and made as though she was going to hit me on the head. We both had a good laugh about the presents. Those same presents, after over sixty years of use, are almost as white and in as good shape as then and I think with good care would last sixty years more. Anything Calvin Hall made had to be perfect. Nothing was ever slighted. He took pride in his work and often said, “What is worth doing at all is worth doing well.”
It did not take long to move our goods in and get settled, then I wanted a drink of water and my wife gave me a tea cup remarking, “John, we have no dipper.” I went out and got me a drink and brought her one, too. Then I went down to the store and Uncle Jabe Card sold me a water pail, dipper, and wash dish all for six shillings with the remark, “you see, John, I cut the price seeing you just got married.”
I drove the oxen back and offered to settle with Smith Dexter for their use but he laughed and said, “No charge, John, that is your wedding present and welcome.” I thanked him and went across the field to Squire Darling’s and bought a three year old heifer fresh about a week and the heifer calf all for twenty dollars. You see, I had had fairly good luck trapping foxes the winter before and sold ten pelts to Old Megler who came twice a year selling dry goods, notions, and buying fur, for twenty shillings apiece, so I paid for my cow and still had five dollars left of my fox money. When I was ready to milk, my wife wanted to know which I would use, the dipper or the was dish. So I went down to the store and gave Uncle Jabe two shillings for a nice bright twelve quart pail to milk in. After feeding the calf I still had three pans of milk and what we saved out to use for the house. My wife remarked she would have to have more pans now we were making butter. So in a few days a tin peddler came along and she traded a couple of sacks of rags for three pans, a six quart dish to mix pancakes in and a six pence beside.
I notice, Mr. Cline, you have left out two very important articles, a broom
and a stove. “Well, Dan, I did forget to mention I made a very serviceable
splint broom a short time ago and of course brought it along. As for a
stove, at that time there were no stoves, not even one, in Hallsport. Everyone
had a fireplace with a crane on each side to swing over the fire and swing
back. They also had a Dutch oven and set that over the coals and it did
not take long to do the baking.
BUILDING A BARN FOR ELEVEN PAIRS OF BOOTS, ANY SIZE.
One evening in the store, Mr. John Cline, Sr., asked me if I would help unload and place a large monument next day that Harry Lake would have delivered in the cemetery. I told him I would so promptly at eight o’clock I was there. I knew he was very prompt on time so was sure to be on time. While we were waiting, I noticed he was wearing a pair of fine boots and they looked like new. I said, “Mr. Cline, where did you get those boots? I did not know they made fine boots anymore for I have not seen a pair in years.” He laughed and replied, “Those boots have quite a story that goes with them and I think I will have plenty of time to tell it, so here goes. I was over to the hotel one morning and it was raining quite a bit. The guests were coming out from breakfast and Calvin was behind his desk checking them out when a young man by the name of Curtis came out, paid his bill, and asked Calvin to step out on the porch as he wanted to show him something. Then he said, ‘look out there and you will see over twenty rigs standing out in the weather. Now, we all make it a point to stay here overnight with you because we get the best meals, cleanest and best-laying beds, besides you sell the best whiskey. it is never watered and the hospitality dispersed by you and your family makes everyone feel at home, but as much as we appreciate all this we will have to make other plans unless you make room for our rigs. We know it won’t be long now before fall and winter storms of ice and snow will cover our wagons and so it is up to you to decide what is to be done.’ Calvin replied, “I will see what I can do about this situation and at once.”
He went over to his desk, took out a large sheet of paper and drafted out something for quite awhile, then he asked me to come over there and handed me this paper. “You see, John, I have made a plan for a barn thirty-six by fifty feet and I want this built onto the other barn. It will have to be completed not later than October 24th and ready for use. Now, how many pairs of boots do you want to build this barn and have ready by that time?” I looked it over awhile and then I told him I would do the job, he to furnish everything, for eleven pairs of boots. Two for myself, one pair everyday boots and the other a pair of fine boots, and there they are, not a rip or anything wrong and you just asked where I got my fine boots. Well, I had rather have a pair of boots Calvin Hall made than any three pairs bought elsewhere. When I am finished with wearing boots, I want you to have these boots to show your friends what sort of work your grandfather did.”
I traded one pair of boots to Johnson Briggs for a fanning mill nearly new and he stepped up and Calvin took his measure and put it on a card with name. Another pair went to Jessie Briggs for seven bushels of wheat, and another to John Livermore for five young sheep. In this way I disposed of all my nine pairs and was home before eleven o’clock. That afternoon while your father and your uncle Square went up with the oxen to skid in the logs, Calvin and I went up back of the hotel not far and cut down and limbed out the trees for the barn. Next day the boys skidded these down on the skidway and we measured them off and started scoring. Square was about sixteen and Harrison twelve but you ought to see how handy they were with an ax. Calvin measured and snapped the chalk line and I kept right on swinging the broad ax. It did not take too long those days to get out the timbers for a building. We had plenty of trees to select from and we took only the nicest. When Frank Thomas came by he stopped and Calvin asked what he would take to make the nails and spikes for the barn. He considered it a minute then said, “I will make them for a pair of everyday shoes.” “It’s a deal,” replied Calvin, “let’s go right up and I will take your measure. I don’t want John to have to wait for anything.” You see, nails and spikes had to be made from nail rod. Each nail had to be cut off, sharpened on one end and then upset on the other making a head. In this way it took some time but we did not set much account on time in those days, most we wanted was to get what we needed and we were all poor alike and had to use the system of barter same as I did with my nine pairs of boots. We traded what we had for something we really needed in place of money for that was very hard to get in this new country then. We got the barn framed and the next Saturday we had a raising. We had plenty of help for Calvin was well liked and always ready to go to a bee or raising. They all knew there would be plenty of good Kentucky whiskey and one of Charlotte’s excellent suppers awaiting them at night. At one o’clock we started getting the timbers put together for the first bent and when that was raised and stay lathed in place the jug was passed and so on until each bent was in place. When we had the rafters in place a number of experienced men began putting on the roof boards and when one side was done they started shingling while the others put on the roof boards on the other side. Then we stacked up a pile of lumber and measured off the length and with a crosscut saw sawed off the ends. Then we began boarding up and when night came or five o’clock we had two sides boarded up and the roof boards all on and one side shingled.
I well remember how that dining room looked that night. Charlotte and her three daughters, all young ladies and school teachers, were there to wait on the crowd. Born and brought up in that hotel and trained by their mother, they were experts waiting table. Everyone was pleased with the supper for it was known for miles around that Charlotte Hall set the best table and she and her daughters could prepare and serve a crowd the quickest and with the best manners of any place you could go in those days. Everyone enjoyed their meal for we had all worked hard and the table was piled high with good wholesome home cooked food. How good it did taste and what a supper it was. I never will forget that night there in the dining room with Charlotte, Serafany [Seraphina Hall], Jenett [Calfernia Jannette Hall], and Hap [Abby Happalona Hall]. How pleasant they were and looking out to see all were helped and made to feel at home. The crowd was well behaved, too, not a bit of fault found with anything. They all seemed to enter into the spirit of the occasion. It was more like a family reunion or Christmas dinner. Nobody remarks, all were ladies and gentlemen and would have been ashamed to be otherwise. Long after, I remember hearing many that were there that night say “I never will forget that supper and how nicely it was served and how good everything tasted.”
We finished the barn the first day of October about four o’clock and just as we stood talking about the job, who should drive up but Curtis with his nice black team of horses, brass trimmed harness and gaily painted wagon. He wanted to know if we had room for his team and wagon and Calvin told him to drive in. “You are the first rig to enter our new barn and I think you will have plenty of room so your wagon won’t get any snow or ice from having to stand outdoors.” He laughed and when we went to the hotel he called everyone up to have a drink on him. “Seeing I christened the barn it is my turn to treat.”
When Mr. Cline finished, he looked at his watch and made the remark, “I declare, ‘most ten and no team here yet. I could have taken a yoke of two year old steers and been here long before this.” After we walked around the cemetery a few minutes, I asked him if he ever knew of a sawmill being built on the Nobles farm down on the creek. Just where do you mean, Dan?” I told him I rode down to the Hungerford Road above John Trask’s mill and fished up home last spring and not far above the Trask mill was an old dam that must have been built years ago. “Oh, yes, now I know where you mean. Well, you are correct. There was a saw mill there years ago and your grandfather and I were there to the raising. It was on the old Wilcox farm then and known as the Wilcox Saw Mill. You see, that country down there had a lot of very nice virgin pine or cork pine and so Wilcox built this mill. It was a large frame and heavy timbers and many had quite a lot of pine they wanted to market. So when the word was sent out for the raising there were several men on hand to help. I should say more than a hundred. Everything went along well until the last main brace, a large stick all of two feet square and thirty feet or more in length. This went slantingly from the sill to the plate which was all of twenty feet or more in height. This timber was what they hitched to, to draw the logs in the mill from the pond and had to be very rigid so it was pinned to the sill and to the plate and rested about halfway on a large post.
When they were ready to raise this large stick, someone asked who was going
up and pin the tenon to the plate and another asked what about the pin
being driven in the post. Wilcox asked several if they would do this but
all refused. There was a man by the name of Briggs, visiting here dressed
in store clothes, but refused to help lift or do anything but take his
turn at the jug when it was passed. Calvin had a very pleasing way and
so Briggs consented to try. Then Calvin asked me to get off my boots same
as he and we would do the pinning, so I did. When we were ready the word
was given and up went the stick. Then when about even with the plate Calvin
started up in his stocking feet and I followed. He made me think of a cat
going up a tree when a dog was chasing it. Pin in one hand and mallet in
the other. I did the same. He entered the tenon and I entered the tenon
on the post and Briggs stood holding the bar. The tenon had slipped into
the sill. Calvin drove the pin almost even and I did the same with the
pin in the post. All at once Calvin told all those on the ground to get
back as something might happen. Then moistened his hands and made a big
swing over his head. I could not think what was the reason for that as
the pin was about flush with the timber. All at once he let out a yell
and missed hitting either the timber or the pin and away went the mallet
but everyone was out of danger. Calvin nearly went off the large timber
and I thought sure he was going to fall, but he finally swayed back and
forth then turned and came down the timber on the run. That fooled me,
too, until as he came near me he said in a low tone hardly audible, “Cline,
when I grab you, grab him.” Then I knew it was a joke. We went on down
the large stick on the run and when Calvin grabbed me I caught hold of
Briggs and we all went splash in about fifteen feet of water where they
had scraped out to set the water wheel. When I came up I could see
Calvin swimming like a fish for the other bank of the creek and I struck
out for the bank, too. I remember how Calvin scrambled up out of the water
and I looked around and there was Briggs crawling out on a gravel bar.
He stood up and what a sorry sight he was, his store clothes dripping and
they stuck tight, too. Calvin took off his socks, wrung them and spread
them out. It was a nice warm day in summer and several had come over on
that side on a food bridge below the hole where we had just gone in. Jones
Briggs came with the jug. He smiled as he stopped and said, “You see I
brought some medicine as you fellows might have a chill and take cold.”
Calvin said, “Cline, as much as I hate to admit it I surely am getting
cold. To think I missed the pin was bad enough but I did not even hit the
plate. I never was so astonished in all my life and, too, I sure was scared.
I thought I was going to fall. Yes, I have got get me a pair of specks
and again I will have to admit I am growing old and you cannot imagine
how shamed I am to make such a blunder before this whole crowd.” Besides
me, no one had an idea but what it was an accident. I tell you, Calvin
was a good actor and fooled everyone else. Yes, Dan, I will always remember
the day we raised the Wilcox Mill and what a lot of fun we had. You see,
laziness was one thing we pioneers would put up with. We were all poor
alike and trying to carve a home out of the wilderness. We all were ready
to help one another when it was needed but with Briggs setting around with
the airs he put on, we just thought we would initiate him into the ways
of the wilderness. Just as he finished the team arrived with the monument
and we unloaded it and set it up. When the job was finished, we started
home. Just as we reached my home Mr. Cline took out his pocketbook and
asked how much he owed me. “:You see, Dan, I have kept you away from your
work a half day and I want to pay you for your time.” I asked him if he
remembered a little boy coming down from school with his hand sled all
broken up in pieces and the tears running down his cheeks. “Well, seems
as thought I do but that has nothing to do about this.” “I think it does
for you said to come on over to your shop and you would see what you could
do about fixing that sled. You looked it over and said, “I don’t see much
that needs fixing, only a couple of new beams and you come over on Monday
night and I will have it ready. You see, we will have to wait for the paint
to dry.” When I came over Monday there was my sled and it looked as good
as new. No one would ever know it had been broken. I asked you how much
the charges were for repairing the sled and you told me, “Nothing, I will
get my pay by sitting here in the window and see you ride downhill.” I
had the money to pay and expected and was anxious to settle but you said,
“No, Dan, the Clines and Halls have been friends for over fifty years and
so I am pleased to see you enjoy your new sled.” So, Mr. Cline, let’s continue
that friendship and beside, you know Grandfather Hall passed on long before
I was born and those two accounts you related gave me a very good estimate
of what he was like. “I declare, just like your grandfather, do him a good
turn and he would do you two every time.”
THE LAST LOGGING BEE IN HALLSPORT
When I was a little boy, I went to a logging bee on the Burlingame Farm, better know as the Parker and Babcock Farm. The whole side hill was covered with hemlock logs that had been cut for some time. Mr. Burlingame was well along in years. I would say sixty and perhaps more. He made this bee to clear up the hill from the woods down to the meadow. It was a long, steep side hill and well covered with these hemlock logs. There were about twenty yoke of cattle with their drivers and plenty of other help to roll up the logs in heaps or piles ready to dry out and later burn. After about an hour and the jug had been passed so all were feeling about right, someone mentioned they ought to have a little excitement. Mr. Burlingame had a yoke of four year old steers that one one could drive. They would turn the yoke or run away. They were good at both. Several had tried to drive them but failed. So this afternoon it was suggested Uncle Luther Hall be given a chance to see what he could do. This suggestion was made with the idea we all would see some fun and have plenty of excitement. Uncle Luther had his oxen there, a very nice pair. He also had a very substantial ox whip with a strong whip stock, in the end of which was a sharp goad and the whiplash was made by braiding two very large, strong leather strips lashed together with a knot in the end. So Uncle Luther said he would see if he could drive this pair of runaway steers no on else had been able to manage. Uncle Luther drove the steers up the hill until he came to the first log. It laid next to a stump so he hitched to the top end and started the steers. They went a few steps and then began to swing out, their trick to turn the yoke. Uncle hopped over that log like a boy sixteen and goaded first one then the other. They were soon sick of trying to turn the yoke so he drove them on up the hill until they were winded. Then he turned them around and hitched to the butt of the log and started down the hill. The chain around the log kept the log from running onto the cattle. Then they started to run away and such a lacing over the head as they got soon stopped them from any idea of running. I never saw a yoke of cattle get such a whipping and others there said the same. Then Uncle drove them down the hill and up to the log heap as nicely as any team there. No yoke of cattle there that day drew more logs or larger ones and when Uncle stopped at the log heap he laid his whip across their necks just back of the yoke. When he was ready to go he spoke in a very low tone, almost a whisper, and they followed him just like a dog. I heard one man say, “I never saw a man drive oxen before and whisper to them when he wanted them to stop or go.” There was no yelling, just a very low tone and they minded every time. When one of the oxen pulled a shoe everyone thought the show was over as it was quite a distance up to the blacksmith shop where there was a set of frames used to shoe oxen. Uncle spoke to Herk [Hercules Hall], his son, and asked him to come over and set the shoe. He picked the ox’s hind foot up and after quite a struggle the ox gave up and he nailed on the shoe. You ought to have seen the look and heard the remarks. No one thought of shoeing an ox unless they had a set of frames to hold the ox, but Herk did what no other man there could do and you ought to see how surprised they were. Herk was over six feet and weighed over two hundred. Every bit bone and muscle. No question but what he was the strongest man there that day.
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Last Update February 21, 2011
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